October 23, 2012

PhotoEx 2012 Day 1: Saturday in Westminster

IPS PhotoEx 2012: London and Paris

Where does one start?  At the beginning?  Like when I first heard about it?  When I first got to London? When I met up with IPS?  There is so much to tell, SO many pictures, so many amazing experiences to describe and so many fantastic people to introduce you to!  Because I didn't get a whole bunch of pictures of myself with my camera (go figure right? ;-) I'll be snagging some off facebook and giving credit the awesome photographer responsible.

January 3, 2012
I had hear a rumor that IPS was going to London and Paris but it wasn't until this day that all the info was listed on the website.  I watched the entire slideshow video...twice.  I read everything they had to write about the trip I investigated tickets looked at the price, got super excited and went to talk to my parents.  I still had 6 months to earn money and my parents agreed to help me out.  I went to sleep, or rather, went to bed ecstatic.  I didn't sleep for a long time.  I prayed about it and just stared up at the starry sky from my bed.  I could go to Europe!  I could be in Paris on my 18th birthday! I would get to use my little french and see all these places I had read about!  

I kept looking at the sky; my brain was racing at 100 miles a minute.  Then I saw it.  And I took a picture of it.  Because, well, I don't know it just seemed special and I'm a photographer so I always have my camera by my bedside. :-)  I got up in the cold and ran through the dark house to get my intervalometer and my Dad's tripod.  

Can you see it?  Well, I think it is part of a bigger constellation but these 5 starts looked just like a lopsided Eiffel Tower to me.  Let's just say I didn't fall asleep till around 2am.

Now, to make a very long story short, I contacted Jocelyn (IPS instructor, portrait photography wizard, wife of owner of IPS) and I was not eligible to go.  Cue complete devastation.  Ok, so not really.  It was hard, but not the end of the world.  Move on with life.

A couple weeks later I get another facebook message from Jocelyn.  

"I have sone good news for you. After a long process of trying to figure out if you could come with us to London and Paris we have come to the conclusion with our lawyers, insurance agent and board that you are officially invited!
The other good news is God seems to have help 1 spot for you. The trip filled expect for 1 girl spot in the first week it was posted. This has NEVER happened before smile"

Wow!  What are you doing Lord?  I'd just gotten over the idea of going to Europe anytime soon and then the door just swings open!  And after all of the nitty-gritty details that won't add anything to this post it was agreed that I would be going!  Going to Europe!!!  Inside I couldn't believe it and was exploding and on the outside my usual calm and collected self showed no change except jumping up and down or sharp intakes of breath every time I remembered.

The houses of parliament and bell tower containing "Big Ben"

On top of all this, I flew over a week early to spend a week with some friends of friends, but that is a story for another day.  These posts start on the afternoon I arrived at the Hostel and saw Rowan(owner of IPS) on his computer.  I was with IPS!!!!

People were arriving at all different times and slowly trickling into the Hostel so there were a couple hours of downtime where many of the girls slept to help with the jet-lag and I caught up on journalling from the week beforehand.  I'm still not done by the way...I think I got half way through the trip and then just journalized about whatever was happening at the time so as not to forget details, but then, of course, I was skipping be chunks.  I'm so glad I did it though.  Always journal, always remember.

Courtney, Anntonette, Madey, Moi, Weston, Mike
Red, white, and blue for the win!  But are we representing the U.S., Britain, or France?  Or Russia I guess...while I'm at it.  :-)
Photo by Jocelyn.

Traveling with IPS is very stress-free. In fact, there are only 3 rules.
#1 Don't Die. partially or fully
#2 Groups of Three. safety from danger, stupid, and awkward :-)
#3 Don't Fal in Love.  at least not on their watches. :-)

Follow those 3 rules and you're sure to have a splendid trip.  I think they're all very practical actually.  
Back: Brooke, Moi, Madey, Eli, Jocelyn, Anntonette, Kennan, Weston, Mike, Judson, Shasha, Marlene Front:Amy, Jasmine, Jennifer, Kelly, Ashley
Photo by Rowan

That is our whole group that afternoon in front of Westminster Abbey.  I miss these people.

Westminster Bridge
Judson (one of the instructors) explained about the history of the area and the statute of Boadicea(no picture, sorry).  He also read us this poem written by William Wordsworth on September 3, 1802 right where we were standing.

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear

The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky,
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Houses of Parliament

Parliament Square
Where the protestor never sleeps.

Ignore us.  We're American photographers.

Westminster Abbey in its grandeur

Reflections!  This photo is rotated 180 degrees.

After exploring the Parliament Square/Westminster area the group walked to Buckingham Palace through St. James Park.  It was beautiful.

Yes, I know it looks like a castle from a fairytale but I assure you this is a public park. :-)

We could not get any closer than this to the palace because construction workers were busy taking down the bleachers that had been erected for the Diamond Jubilee concert in honor os HM Queen Elizabeth II's 60th year as queen.

A Marriot hotel in an old building : The boardwalk along the Thames

Beautiful Ashley sporting a sweet IPS strap.
"encounter God"

London Eye : Amy shooting

Busy London

Brooke :-)

Reflections on White Hall (the street with all of the political buildings)

Middlesex Guildhall

And I leave you with Brooke!

     After Buckingham Palace we walked to a lovely Italian restaurant and started getting to know all of our new friends!  Oh, and in case you were wondering, a courgette is in the squash family and it tasted amazing. :-)


  1. Fun post =) Great pictures =) Isn't it amazing how God works?!

    I really like the reflection picture...it's pretty cool :)


  2. Ahhh, I really need to see England. And basically all of Europe. So, so, so beautiful!